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I am a "hand quilter only" and would like to meet others who feel the way I do about this seemingly lost art. I've been quilting for nearly 30 years, and while I love what machine quilting can accomplish, I just am passionate about hand quilting. Call me crazy. I live in rural upstate NY.

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Hello Joyce, my name is Joy, I also am a hand quilter and love it. I started from scratch, I had no frame but I had fabric, thread and a loop, so here I am loving every stitch. The quilt feels more a part of me every stick of the finger.
Hi Joy, I quite agree. After spending so much time on a quilt they always become part of me. And if your like me, you're always making quilts for others. Often by the time I'm finished with a quilt I really hate to part with it. I guess that's the love of the work. Joyce
I enjoy hand quilting also, I just like the look of it better then machine, but I have seen machind done beutifully, I like to quilt when the children are taking a nap,( I run a family daycare), a bit difficult to do on the machine.
Hi Joyce. Im trying to teach myself and doing an ok job of hand quilting. Do you have any suggestions on any books or helpful hints. Thanks
Now that sounds like a question for the whole group to jump in on. Since some of us have been quilting forever, and some of us are relatively new at it, it would be interesting to find out what books or helpful hints we all used to get off the ground.

Personally, I like Eleanor Burns books - any of them are fairly easy to follow. I get Quiltmaker and Quilter magazine which I find very helpful. I have saved every magazine I've ever sent for and every book. I have quite a library and I just love all my books - and I do go back and look for items to help me. I have taken classes at local quilt shops - if you are lucky enough to have one nearby that sends out a newsletter or has a website, they advertise their classes. Great way to learn and also meet other quilters who are never short on hints and suggestions.

I started quilting back in the late 70's. We didn't have rotary cutters and fancy rulers then. I have three pamphets from that time - those were my learning tools and I wouldn't part with them for the world, although they are kind of fun to go through now. Nobody was assembly line sewing back then.

Okay gang. Here's the challenge. Let's help Mari by sharing what books or hints we really learned from. If we were all sitting around a real quilt frame, what would we be sharing? Joyce
Just keep practicing what you are already doing. Make your stitches as even in size as possible. Smaller stitches will come with practice. Don't worry about how many stitches you can get on the needle, just go with what is comfortable.
This sounds like a good question to transfer over to the Around the Quilt Frame Hand Quilters group. I would suggest sitting with and watching others hand quilt, if that is at all possible. Of course ask permission to watch first. If they say yes, ask questions. I still enjoy and learn from others while watching them practice this craft.
I learned to hand quilt from an old video/dvd from the now deceased Roxanne. Her daughter still runs the company and sells Roxanne's thimbles. I found the video really helpful because she was able to show what both hands were doing and she demonstrated it slowly. I am a visual sort of gal and books weren't helping me. I also got to meet the Australian Thimble Lady, who sells her own thimble and her videos were also very good.
I machine piece, but I only hand quilt. I've seen some intricate machine quilting and I can appreciate how beautiful it can be, but the irregularity, diligence and opportunity for private and hidden treasures of hand quilting is what fascinates and hypnotizes me.

On my last quilt, I randomly stippled the background of the stack and slashed pumpkins pieced top with a variegated thread that made a reverse image of pumpkins on the solid black I used for the backing. The swirls of variegated color made the plain back dance. This positive/negative juxtaposition has been my recurring theme.

I also like to stitch hand-written words, sayings, songs or poems on the borders. I designed and made a Christmas Tree quilt with the same stipple the background plan as the pumpkin quilt (playing games with the positve and negative again) then all along the border I stitched the words to "Oh Christmas Tree" in my best 4th grade cursive writing.

Given all this, my advice for learning to hand quilt is PLAY and make your own rules. Ejoy the "journy" hand quilting offers and don't be overly concerned by looking outward for instruction - hand quilting (to me) is all about meditative looking inward.
Would love to see a picture of your quilting. It would really help if I could get a visual as I am not an abstract concept person. 8)
I'll try to take a picture that shows the detail - I've never taken a picture of any of my quilts before because I don't have the right lenses to really capture the details, and for me - it's all in the detail (and no one has ever asked me to take a picture of my quilts either). But I'll give it a try - the pumpkin quilt might photograph better, at least the back will, but the Christmas quilt, probably won't photo well - the quilting is mostly white on white (I was thinking snow at the time) so the detail is in the quilted texture.
Looking forward to the pics......

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